On Central Bedfordshire Council’s Town and Parish Council Conference held on Wednesday 13th July 2016

There is a contradiction between the views of Henry Cleary and Councillors about the effects on Parishes of the Council’s Local Plan. Henry is the Chair of the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Board. Henry a retired Government functionary whose credentials can be found here at National Historic Ships; says the outcome of the independent Green Belt review and site selection process will provide evidence either for or against building warehousing around Sundon Parish’s cherished historic English Heritage asset, St Mary’s Church in Lower Sundon, housing in distinctive Landscape Character Areas (LCA’s), the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and in the Green Belt.

Councillors Sue Clark, Tom Nicols and Nigel Young support the Green Belt review and the site selection process. Tom Nicols has threatened Green Belt parishes; accept several thousand houses and many warehouses or accept half as many being built! It appears the outcome of the ‘independent’ Green Belt review and site selection process is pre-determined.

The consensus amongst many of Central Bedfordshire’s Parish Councils is the Council’s consultation process is a sham. The law on public consultation found here at Government Legislation implies poor quality public consultation is not unlawful. Is Central Bedfordshire’s costly public consultation meaningful or is it merely a ‘tick box’ exercise?

The Council’s Community Planning consultation adjunct is divisive. It encourages Parish Councils to accept unsustainable development or direct this development onto other parishes. Parishes are not planning authorities. The Council is a planning authority; it is its responsibility to decide on the locations of new development not parishes! If parishes don’t want unsustainable development then it is up to the Council to justify the need for it.

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